This post by Andy Hogg explains how ITIL can take some of the sting out of the change management process, how ITIL came to be what it is, and why it seems much more mysterious and potentially ominous than it needs to be.
Hogg explains how ITIL originated from the British Government’s desire to better understand how to manage IT operations. Recognizing the increased dependency on IT systems, the ITIL system was created to instill some standard practices and processes for IT.
ITIL started as 30 or so reference books, part of the reason that it’s seen as unwieldy and difficult today. Hogg explains that ITIL is now contained within two volumes and contains many elements that are simply common sense.
For instance, the processes around change management simply represent best practices: proposed changes are detailed and put into a change management system for consideration. While all of this process has very particular names and definitions, it all makes sense when you get down to it: keep an eye on the work that needs done, if your team needs to change something make sure you document that process.
Hogg then addresses some of the mistakes that people make when thinking about what ITIL is. He explains that it isn’t a concrete certification that your company can receive, nor is it a policing body:
ITIL is an aspiration for organisations to move towards. It is not a compliance-based regulation, nor an enterprise certification. There is no ITIL awarding body to visit your organisation, hand over a certificate, and warmly shake your CEO’s hand as he proudly has his photo taken for Computer Weekly.
Additionally, there is no ITIL secret police ready to break down your door in the middle of the night because you raised a change request without the necessary documentation attached.
However, organizations that implement ITIL principles effectively will see an improvement in how work is done in the IT organization – and that’s important, as it has to be embraced by the IT worker as much as the IT executive.